Digital Libraries Network is for health librarians and trainers in the UK, interested in promotion and training.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Interesting report

As pointed out on the evidence-based-libraries list today, a new report from the Council on Library and Information Resources, Use and Users of Electronic Library Resources: An Overview and Analysis of Recent Research Studies - interesting reading.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

National Medical Librarians Month

The Medical Library Association are sponsoring the National Medical Librarians Month in October. Although a US-based initiative, the accompanying web site has some useful ideas and resources that would transfer well to any setting. Might come in handy for Awareness Week :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

NeLH Downtime

Just to let you know that Eduserve, our service provider, has had major network problems. The library was off line for about 16 hours. An alert email message was sent all dlnet reps.

In future training events you may have to field questions about this extended downtime period. Our actions following this incident will be:

Changing over to a new Interent connection (which was planned ) which will eliminate some of the problems we have had in restoring service and we will be thoroughly reviewing our current arrangements with Eduserve. .

If issues do arise we would be ver grateful if you would please pass on apologies our to users. Thanks Nick

Friday, August 22, 2003

More on value

Just came across this article which examines value of electronic resources in libraries:

Marriott, R. Yes, but how do we know if it's working? Evidence regarding impact on clinical practice of access for health service staff to bibliographic databases and full text electronic journals, Library Review, 51 (7), 2002, 358-63.

"Information pollution"

Jakob Neilsen's Alertbox is geared around usability issues but sometimes features more general advice. Earlier this month, Neilsen warned of the dangers of "information pollution". Although Neilsen is talking about all sorts of information, the message is worth remembering : Excessive word count and worthless details are making it harder for people to extract useful information. The more you say, the more people tune out your message. And applies to the kinds of information we put out e.g. user guides, signage, publicity.

The latest Alertbox is also interesting : Mobile Devices: One Generation From Useful. The message is New mobile devices show a huge improvement over previous generations, but they're still not good enough to score a real win. To get there, we need both PC-integrated applications and specialized mobile services rather than repurposed website content.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Value of libraries

Well, seeing as this topic was my idea, it's only fair I should kick off some discussion....!

I've been searching around, looking for snippets of information on the value of libraries - here's some of the stuff I found - I'm sure there's lots out there:

  • Eileen G. Abels, Keith W. Cogdill, and Lisl Zach. The contributions of library and information services to hospitals and academic health sciences centers: a preliminary taxonomy, J Med Libr Assoc, 2002 July; 90 (3): 276–284
  • T. Scott Plutchak. Determining value, J Med Libr Assoc, 2002 July; 90 (3): 273–275
  • Carol S. Scherrer and Susan Jacobson. New measures for new roles: defining and measuring the current practices of health sciences librarians, J Med Libr Assoc, 2002 April; 90 (2): 164–172.
  • Patrick O'Connor. Determining the impact of health library services on patient care: a review of the literature, Health Inf & Libs Jnl, 19 (1), March 2002, 1-13.

Web-based bits:

I'd be really interested to hear how librarians are tackling this and to see other useful information you've come across. Over to you.... :-)

Theme months

At one of the DLnet masterclasses, it was suggested we run theme months on this blog. The idea being that as well as sharing general tips/info as they pop into our heads, that we could also focus on a particular theme every so often. As we mentioned at the masterclass events, our plan is to produce Little (Online) Books of Marketing and Training. A theme month could work quite well in pulling together tips, tricks, know-how, links, information on particular topics which could translate well to the Little Books.

I thought this was worth trying out - seeing as we have a bank holiday next week, I suggest we run a theme "month" through to the end of September. If it works, I can pull together the info and put it into one of the Little Books.

My suggested theme for the first month is Promoting the Value of Libraries. I picked this one as it's a bit of a difficult one but as has come up time and again, we need to demonstrate why Google etc don't replace libraries. But there are some hard questions - how do we define value? how can we measure the impact we have within the health community? what information do we have to put forward our case? what information don't we have? who do we need to target? and lots more.... The emphasis here is on promoting the library service as a valued part of the organisation so the focus is more on defining/measuring/communicating value than on promotion in general.

So, fellow DLnet bloggers, what are your experiences?

  • What useful information have you come across on measuring value and outcomes?
  • Do you have any tips or know-how to share?
  • Have you any thoughts about what works and what doesn't work?
  • Any suggestions on how best to communicate our value?

Share your thoughts, info, know-how and comments via this blog and we'll summarise at the end of September.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Ten Minute Training

Following on from the lesson plans developed by the NeLH team and promoted at the Masterclasses, I have set up Ten Minute Training sessions which can be slotted into a GP appointment. It works very well and the response has been very good. I spend a couple of minutes demonstrating local library resources and then spend the majority of the time on the NeLH site. I tell everyone about Hitting the Headlines and the NeLH Search Facility. Then I make it more relevant to individual professions, so for GPs, I show them Prodigy and Clinical Evidence, for community nurses I show them the professional portal, care pathways database and BNF, for physiotherapists I show them the professional portal, PEDRO database and the Allied Health Bulletin on the DOH site. I also have a session for practice managers and PALS. When I leave, I make sure they have all my contact details and information on other training available.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Evaluation of Masterclasses

Thank you all for contributing to the evaluation of the Masterclasses. The interim report is now available. Your constructive comments have influenced the content of the day and will, I am sure, make them even more enjoyable for colleagues. Thanks!

PS If you want to comment on what you see please use the feedback form at the bottom of the page and we will incorporate them into the final report. N

Another Marketing Idea

I've had quite a few people booking training sessions way in advance due to holidays or night shifts etc. and found it easier to send a reminder about the training session a few days before through the internal post, than chase them via telephone when they are busy dealing with patients.

I have found the nelh external postcards useful tools to do this as they look really professional and don't need an envelope, so i just write on the date, time and session they have booked in on and stick it in the post!!
So not only am I making sure they remember the training but promoting nelh at the same time!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Forthcoming BMJ eHealth special

THe BMJ is calling for papers on aspects of eHealth applications for publication in a special issue in April 2004. They're encouraging submissions before 15th October.

For further details see http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/327/7410/300?eaf


Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Useful web sites

I came across an article in Marketing Library Services, which usually makes interesting reading tho' not all contents are available in full text online. This reports on a conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and points to some very useful resources on the ACRL web site:

- the @ Your Library toolkit for marketing academic and research libraries

- from the same page, a whole range of useful bits and bobs, such as slogans you can use, case studies, 100 Ways to Reach your Faculty, lots of stuff about advocacy, useful links and more

- a growing best practices page - only a handful of examples yet but an interesting way of sharing ideas

- documentation about strategic marketing from 3M, including how to plan, using the Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) model

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Feeling hot?

Take your mind of the amazing weather with a bit of fun. Try visiting the Library Humour site mentioned this morning on lis-medical - maybe we could use the bumper stickers for librarians in DLnet?!! Or try entering your name (even better, names of colleagues) into Googlism.com :-)

Information literacy

Interesting article, Information literacy - is it worth the investment?, in Australian Academic and Research Libraries. About information literacy in an academic library. Not related to health but interesting as the authors do go into detail about the costs and staff time involved in delivering a curriculum-based programme. The same journal issue also includes an article by Asher, discussing the different roles that librarians and academics play in information literacy: “The librarian can change a life for the better every day by opening a door for a student to a new piece of knowledge. The academic can help the student interpret it. Both of these jobs are important. Both professions teach. But they work best separately. Erasing the boundaries that keep them separate weakens their strength.”

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

One in ... 2.4 million

The latest issue of Internet Resources Newsletter points to some interesting bits and bobs:

- our blog is one of 2.4 to 2.9 million blogs now up on the web, according to a recent article which also reports around 2% of the online community has created a blog, with around 4% of the online community reading blogs

- news item on the recent Users First report on HE and NHS libraries

- learning resource on marketing

- interesting article in Ariadne on the JISC Information Environment

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Inter-professional learning

Building on Zoe's ideas around marketing NeLH and feedback we have received about the afternoon slot. I shall be facilitating a marketing parallel slot on the next road show. I anticipate that suppliers sales reps will be included into the syndicate sessions as they will be helpful in delivery of key messages. I will keep you informed of the evaluations

Well Done

Well congratulations everyone, you have really got out there and taken advantage of the NeLH literature (over 10, 000 fold outs have been supplied to you ). As has been pointed out it is hard keeping stocks in place! Just to let you know that Fold outs (1294) are back in and are now prepacked in "outers" for ease of storage. The internal postcards are imminent as are the internal envelopes. www.nelh.nhs.uk/publicity

Three Minute NeLH Conversations I have had

As many of you know whenever I get an opportunity to talk about NeLH I jump at it -occasionally literally . Perhaps one of the most unplanned occurred last Thursday . As I got on to the Tube at Piccadilly Circus I tripped and trod on a young ladies open toed sandals. After profuse apologies ( and she insisting I had merely kicked her) we got chatting ( the train was packed!) -she was from Finland [Leicester Square], we told each other some European jokes - Finnish is Swedish spoken under water , Dutch is German spoken underwater etc etc ) [Covent Garden] She lived in Croydon [Holborn]..she worked at Great Ormond Street in ITU Ah ha .. had she heard you of NeLH YES she had! -she used it often ..had she used child health / hitting the headlines/ nurse portal NO she hadn't! [Russells Sq] She left the train here, as GOS is just round the corner. Was that spring in her step an urgency to get immediately back online or making a limp for it while she still had a chance? [Rhetorical]

Monday, August 04, 2003

Selling the NeLH

Sales patter that works?

I think it would be useful to have a training event on the best ways of marketing the NeLH. It would be useful to have a very practical based session whereby we maybe had a bit of marketing theory but where the majority of time was devoted to practical exercises - getting into small groups and working out ways of verbally selling ideas to then present them to the rest of the group - it would be fun and it would increase confidence to verbally market an idea, especially to more senior hospital staff who are sometimes reluctant to see the relevance of new e-resources.

We all have the written bumpf, which fills a publicity niche but verbally selling something needs different language altogether to that which is written in flyers and such like. Imagine we are selling double glazing on the phone - we could all do to come up with sales patter that works. How to market Clinical Evidence in an attractive way? If anyone has any patter that works, please do share!

Zoë Debenham, Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals NHS Trust

Friday, August 01, 2003

Marketing Training

More aggressive marketing techniques needed?

To market our training, we are currently trying mail shots to specific individuals in the Trust - Consultant Education Leads; specialist nurses and senior sisters. In the mailing pack is a letter marketing our training, a training prospectus and an expression of interest slip. If they send the slip back expressing interest in training, either for themselves or their staff, we will contact them. We're hoping that this more aggressive style of marketing, targetting specific people will be more effective than simply posting flyers around, advertising via our website (which relies on staff actually looking at it and doesn't target the staff who never use the Library) etc. So we will see if it works - we'll report back if it's successful...here's hoping...
Zoë Debenham, Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals NHS Trust

Themed marketing

Whilst sorting through various piles of paper which have appeared over the year, I came across this from the MLA conference:

Poster presentation: Theme of the month marketing (doesn't appear to be on the conference website yet)
From University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center - Dallas, explains how library staff felt marketing of multiple products resulted in "a disorganized Library appearance" and "diluting the messages sent to our clients". They then came up with the idea of themed marketing, focusing on one product or service each month, e.g. new library home page, OVID Online, PDAs etc. They cut down on the number of displays and standardised the format of materials. No information given, though, on impact this had.

Maybe other DLnet bloggers can suggest their tried and tested approaches to effective marketing? What impact did your innovations have?

Blended Learning

'Blended learning is the latest buzzword in corporate training. It sounds so simple: mix e-learning with other types of training delivery. But questions persist. What are the best ways to blend delivery types? When do you blend? What blends work best with what? And the $million question: Will the term blended learning replace e-learning?' Article in Learning Circuits by Josh Bersin found on Elearnspace Blog. Worth a look there are some interesting things here.